Got it done

The day started out on the rough side, though so far, that seems to have worked itself out. Issues started in the wee hours of the morning, when I was awakened by the sound of something hitting the floor in the dining room. I came out to discover the container we are using to hold all the seed packs and supplies had been knocked onto the floor, spilling seed packs everywhere. I had them sorted by which need to be direct sown, and which need to be started indoors. That’s going to need to be sorted again. :-/

Then I went into the sun room, and found the worse mess yet. Along with much of what was on the shelf under the bathroom window being knocked onto the floor, the wagon knocked over, and the new roll of netting we’ll be using as temporary deer fencing, all knocked to the floor, the bin with deer/bird feed in it was on the ground, and the lid to the bin with the kibble in it was knocked aside.

With the feed, at least we didn’t lose too much of it, since it was only about half full to begin with. I’d just refilled the kibble bin, which probably made it too heavy to knock over!

So that required some time to do a partial clean up. The heated water bowl was dry again, and I ended up unplugging it and setting it aside, along with the containers we were using as kibble trays. Things have warmed up enough that we will be closing the doors again, anyhow.

The outside cats were quite happy to see me when I finally came out with kibble. There was none left in any of the trays. The heated water bowl that isn’t working for some reason had a layer of ice across the top, but the cats had kept a hole in the ice to access the liquid water below. From today on, their water bowls should not be freezing up completely overnight, anymore.

I saw at least 11 cats this morning. I also startled our usual 3 deer visitors in the yard when I came out. 🙂

The snow in the driveway is completely churned up by all the deer coming through!

I even saw one in my brother’s field.

When I checked the trail cam files later on, I saw the expected deer traffic from last night, but there was also a whole bunch of them captured by the camera, roughly an hour before I came out!

After the morning routine was done, one of my daughters and I headed into the city for our Walmart trip. For the past while, we’ve been going to a smaller, slightly closer Walmart, but decided to go to the big on in the city that was used to go, before I got hassled for not being able to wear a mask during the first lockdown. It was the first day I’d tried to use a shield, but it wasn’t enough. The staff finally were willing to let me in, only for me to get hassled by a customer at the turnstile. I left and never came back.

We got the last of what we needed while we were there, and my daughter got her own shopping done for herself and her sister. I don’t think I’ll be going back again, though. Aside from the repeated creepy announcements about wearing masks, even though they are no longer required, I tried to go to their vision centre to see if I could get an eye exam. Though it was open, it had a barricade across the front. I stood and waited, completely ignored by the person at the counter inside, when a couple other people came up, wearing masks. One of them told me that no one was allowed to go into the vision centre without a mask – then they went through the barrier.

I realize I had only half a face to go by, but from the expression of her eyes and body language, she seemed absolutely gleeful about telling me a mask was required.

So even though there are no longer any restrictions forced on businesses by the province (federal restrictions are still in place, but health care is a provincial jurisdiction), people like me are still being denied basic care.

I’m still off social media for Lent, but I may have to make an exception and go to one of my local groups to find out who provides eye exams without medical discrimination and segregation.

Or I can wait until Lent is over. I think I’ll do that. As long as my glasses don’t fall apart, I should be okay for a few more weeks. My eye exam is covered by my husband’s health insurance, and more time before getting an exam means more time to set money aside to pay for new glasses, beyond the amount the insurance will cover.

Still, we got what we needed, and are stocked up for the month. The only thing we’ll need to do later is get our Easter basket supplies. We might even be able to get our baskets blessed this year. People are allowed to go to church again, without forced masking, injections, spacing and registration again. Hopefully, that means my mother’s church will be doing the basket blessing this year. For the past couple of years, we blessed them ourselves. It’s not quite the same!

On extra I did get at the Walmart, that I hadn’t been able to find elsewhere, is a suitable new hanging bird feeder.

It’s filled with deer feed, because that’s what we have right now. I think, after this bag is done, we’ll be switching back to the black oil seed. With the deer eating up all the seeds before the birds can get any, I have been looking to get a new one for a while. Most of what I found was either too small or too expensive. We had one like this before, and it worked out rather well, until the racoons discovered it and kept knocking it down, eventually breaking it. Hopefully, this one will last longer. I’d like to find a way to keep it from falling off the hook, while still letting me reach to get it on and off. Short people problems. I can just reach high enough to put the hanger cable over the hook – as long as the cable doesn’t slide downwards!

Anyhow. I’m happy to have finally found another one of these. The size is right, and so is the price. The chickadees were happy I found it, too, and were all over it as soon as I left after hanging it up!

So we managed to get a few things done today, and hopefully, we won’t need to go to the city again for another month!

The Re-Farmer

Tired

Oh, cool!

Just as I started writing this, I caught some movement on the security camera live feed. There is currently a deer slowly making it’s way down our driveway.

Contributing to this…

While heading to the driveway cam while doing my morning rounds, I found the driveway filled with deer tracks in the fresh snow.

Right up until the gate.

Just before the gate, the tracks started to disappear, and by the time I reached the gate itself, they were completely gone, covered with windswept snow. What a difference that spruce grove makes!

The outside cats were happy to see me. Their trays were completely empty. Even in the sun room. The heated water bowl was completely dry, and the food containers scattered.

I don’t know how much is the cats and how much might be from the skunk I now see fairly regularly on the security camera, but every morning, the sun room is in disarray. I am inclined to think it’s the cats, because I don’t think the skunks can get up onto the counter shelf, under the bathroom window. We keep all sorts of things on there; too many things, but they’re handy there. One of the things I had on there was an unopened 3 pack of suet for the feeder. Not only did they manage to open up the outside packaging, but the shrink wrap on all three blocks has been torn off, and the suet looks clawed up and chewed on.

So we’re going to have to reorganize that shelf, and find some way to seal up the suet blocks, while still keeping them handy.

They also got into the two new bags of kibble that were sitting on the swing bench. Thankfully, the kibble bin was mostly empty, so I was able to fit both 11kg/24lb bags into the bin.

There was one mystery this morning, though.

With the leaks in the ceiling, I had placed a scrap piece of rigid insulation on top of the feed bin lids. The plastic cracks in the bitter cold, so there are holes in the lids, and I didn’t want to chance water getting into the food. When I go into the bins, I set the sheet aside, but make sure to put it back when I’m done.

It’s gone.

I have no idea where it could be. Since the doors are propped partially open in such a way that they cannot be opened wider – the cats have to squeeze and snake their way around the door frame to get in – and they were still in position, there is no way it got dragged outside. I can see it being pulled out if a cat was digging to get at the bins, but it should have just fallen to the floor in front of the shelf. Even if it landed on another cat or something and got knocked further, there really isn’t a lot of places it could be. But it’s gone! It should be interesting to see where we find it, when we do the clean up later today.

If we find it. 😉

I’m not really looking forward to the job. Partly because I’m still quite tired from yesterday. These trips to the city are really draining, even when they go well. Just being around so many people sucks the energy right out of me.

So yes, there’s that. Another part of it, however, is definitely the weather. Winter is just dragging on and on. We were supposed to be only a degree or so colder than yesterday, when it was actually warm enough to rain (the trail cams both had a layer of ice covering parts of them!). Even as I write this, the forecast it still saying we will be reaching a high of -1C/30F, but it’s noon as I write this, and we’re still at -5C/23F, with a wind chill of -13C/9F. The average high for today, over the past 30 years, is 5C/41F. Though I suppose I should be glad we’re nowhere near the 30 year record cold for today, which is -18C/-0.4F That was set in 2018, which was our first spring here. The record high for today was 15C/59F, set in 2010. In 2001, there was a record snowfall of 77.5mm, or about 3 inches. So we don’t have much to complain about, really but, gosh, it really starts to drag on a body. Especially when it’s so overcast, too. It’s all I can do to stay awake right now.

Another change in the 5 day forecast has happened. Friday (the day after tomorrow) was expected to reach 5C/41F, but now it’s saying we should be reaching 7C/45F.

Considering how often we’ve ended up colder than predicted, I won’t be holding my breath on that.

I’m now seriously considering finding a way to set up a heater in the sun room to use overnight, so we can move our seedlings in there. The overnight temperatures are still too low for seedlings, but we need to start the next batch soon, and there is going to be a lot more that need starting this time. We need the space.

Meanwhile, I’m just feeling so…

Tired.

The Re-Farmer

A quick run

I was going to make a quick run into town this afternoon, when things were supposed to warm up a few degrees.

While doing my morning rounds, however, I decided to head out right away, while the snow was still light and fluffy, and wouldn’t be too much trouble to drive in.

I counted 18 kitties this morning. 🙂

Any tracks at the feeding station were filled with snow, but there were clear tracks going into the yard and up the sidewalk! I must have just missed them.

The critters definitely prefer to use our paths to walk in. 😀

I made a quick stop at the post office/general store first. The post office itself was closed, so I couldn’t pick up a package, but I did get a bag of deer feed, and a couple of bottles of wine for New Year’s that I hope are good. 😀

The plows weren’t out yet, and visibility was quite poor for the drive to town. I found myself catching up to a cloud of snow on the road, and only then could I make out part of the car that was kicking it up. It was driving at half the speed limit, and I had no urge to pass at all! It was a bit clearer for the drive back, but not by much. Thankfully, when I reached the gravel road, I found that half of it was plowed. I almost caught up to the plow before I had to turn down the road to our driveway. From what I could see, the highways weren’t plowed yet, so it was a surprised to see the gravel road being done, even if it was the main one that’s almost as wide as the highway. The road crews are going to be busy!

I didn’t have much to pick up at the grocery store, but I wanted to do it now, before things got colder. The snow is supposed to pass after today, but the temperatures are supposed to drop. We are now getting extreme cold warnings. As I write this, we are at -21C/-6F, which is a few degrees colder than had been forecast, so it looks like it would have made no difference if I’d waited to make my run into town. The wind chill is -26C/-15F. Overnight lows are supposed to reach -30C/-22F, with a wind chill of -40C/-40F. By tomorrow morning, it’s supposed to be -31C/-24F with a wind chill of -42C/-44F Looking at the long range forecast, though, that’s the coldest we’re expected to get until past New Year’s. Thank God we don’t need to go anywhere! In fact, all my family is able to hunker down close to home for the next while. Even my older brother isn’t going to work right now, as they are out of province, awaiting the birth of their newest grand child. ❤ They made the drive out before the snow hit, so while it is quite a bit colder where they are now, they don’t have to commute in it!

Last night, I was able to treat the outside cats buy adding some warm (onion free) broth to their kibble trays. They were very excited about that! I’m going to see if I can have something warm for them tonight, too. They have plenty of places to shelter from the cold, but warm bellies will certainly help!

The Re-Farmer

Twenty fuzzy butts, and what’s with the deer?

Yesterday, my daughter and I opened up the cats’ house and set up the extension cord I found that is safe to use in there. The heated water bowl had been knocked over again, by the time we got out there, which meant the cats had no liquid water available. They hovered around us the entire time we worked, then when everything was set up and the bowls refilled, they came running! They were so thirsty. I made sure to put water in all the bowls, so more could get at water at the same time.

Then I topped up the kibble trays and even more cats came running! I counted 19. Only Ghost Baby was unseen.

Not this morning!

I counted 20 furry butts this morning! All are accounted for.

Also, the heated water bowl had just an inch or two of water in it when I came out this morning, and no ice. Awesome!

I decided to leave the chimney insert where it was. The cats like to climb up and sit on it, plus the little ones can even go inside it for extra shelter, if necessary.

While doing the rest of my rounds, I noticed deer tracks all over the yards around the house. In some areas, it seems they are checking out the different crab apple, and even the plum trees. There is no fruit on any of them for the deer to find, this winter.

They are even digging into the compost pile. I would not have expected them to try and eat the potato plants in there! Do deer normally try to eat things in the nightshade family???

You can see from the tracks that they’re walking right through the half-finished low raised bed. That one was left with a trench down the middle, where we will add more compostable scraps before the bed gets finished in the spring. That’s where most of the frost damaged aloe vera plants ended up, though there are kitchen scraps in it, too. The deer are not digging in this bed, though. Just walking through it! The garlic beds, at least, are being left alone.

I had an unfortunate surprise, though. While looking at the deer tracks in the trees at the south fence along the spruce grove, I saw them going past the little cedar tree we’d found, and the remains of the mulberry tree we’d planted in the spring (only for it to get killed by that one cold night in May that is also why we had no crab apples, plums, chokecherries or Saskatoons this year). I’d asked my mother about the cedar tree, and she knew nothing about it, so I don’t know who planted it there or when, but it had clearly been there at least few years longer than we have been living here.

This year, for some reason, the deer decided to eat it. The twigs and branches are completely stripped. Not only that, but it looks like they even ate the remains of the mulberry tree! We had left it alone, so it was still in between support stakes, but the deer still managed to get at it.

Even the pile of bush bean plants in the garden that was waiting to be buried in garden plots next spring has been dug into more. There doesn’t seem to be much left at all.

We’ve had such a long, mild fall and, even with the one blizzard we’ve had, things have still been very mild and there’s not a tremendous amount of snow, by any means. This early in the winter, there is still lots of food available for the deer that is easy for them to get at. We haven’t see the deer in our yard, just their tracks, but we do see them along the roads or the occasional trial cam file, and they are still quite plump and hearty looking.

So why are they acting like they are starving? And going for things like the cedar, which they completely ignored for years?

I suppose it’s possible the cedar will still survive and regrow in the spring, but it seems so strange that they would have gone for it now.

One thing is for sure. When we finally do start planting our fruit and nut trees and berry bushes, we’re going to have to make sure they are well protected from the deer!

Also, it gives us even more incentive to plant forage trees, beyond the outer yard, so the deer will have less reason to come after trees closer to the house.

The Re-Farmer

Morning finds, and a majestic visitor

There’s always a little something, when I do my morning rounds! 😀

My husband had been able to take care of the cats earlier, so when I got out, I just have to put out feed for the birds (and deer). By the time I came out, however, I found the new heated water bowl had been knocked over. There had to have been some sort of altercation at the entry of the cats’ house, because even the brick supports around it had gone flying, and the power cord to the bowl had been pulled out.

Not only was the new bowl empty, but the water in the other bowls was frozen solid!

Something better had to be found.

I quickly went to feed the birds, thinking about it, and noticed the chimney liners along the side of the house. Since cleaning up the pile behind the house, we’ve been using these to hold the insulation that gets put around the house every winter.

They were just the right size and shape. Was there one we could spare?

Not on that side of the house, so I came back around and looked at the ones along the back of the house. We have other things set up against the house to help keep the insulation from being blown away, so I was able to find one that looked like we could spare.

It’s the perfect size and shape!

The bowl is so big, I added bricks as spacers between it and the shelter. The cats immediately were all over it, until I refilled the other water bowls, too. They were very thirsty!

We will have to plug the bowl back in later, once there are two people available. With the snow accumulation, the counterweight doesn’t quite reach the ground, so one person has to hold up the roof while the other does what needs to be done, inside. When we do our monthly shop, we’ll pick up a short, appropriate extension cord that can be safely used, so we can at least not have to worry about the cord being unplugged. Not too short, though. I want to run it along the frame of the shelter, just under the roof, so there will be no issue with the cats knocking it about, and no critters chewing on it.

Thanks to my daughter digging out more paths, I was able to get at the back of the garage and the outhouse. To clear access to the outhouse, my daughter had to break up that fallen piece of tree. It was warm enough to no longer be quite frozen to the ground, but that’s as far as it’s going to be moved until, most likely, spring.

When switching out the memory card in the trail cam by the new sign, I noticed these tracks. Something had walked towards the corner, stopped, then turned around. At first, I thought they were foot prints, they were so big. That didn’t seem likely, given the piles of snow from the plow. Not even our vandal is that dedicated to causing problems! The question was, did whatever made it go far enough to trigger the motion sensor on the trail cam?

The answer is, yes!

Would you look at that majestic beauty!!

While doing my rounds and seeing deer tracks, I had been noticing some hoof prints much larger than the others. I’d say, we’ve captured the beast that made them! And what a handsome fella he is!

I’m pretty sure we’ve been seeing this same buck visiting our place since we moved here. If it is, this would be the fifth winter of visits from him. 🙂

The Re-Farmer

This morning

First of all, I’m happy to say the new heated water bowl is working out just fine!

The power cord is slightly shorter than the old one. It specifically stated on one of the labels to not use extension cords with it, and there are no other outdoor power outlets we can use here, so we had to get creative. The bowl is not on a makeshift platform to support it. That made it too high for the cats to reach the water from outside the cats’ house, but a couple of buckets and bricks now serve as surfaces that cats can use to sit on – while also providing stability to keep the bowl from getting knocked over as the cats go in and out of their house.

The cats where checking it out and using it almost immediately! 🙂

Including this roly poly Potato, who followed me when I started my rounds. 😀

There were quite a lot of deer tracks around, but this was new this morning.

The dug up the pile of dried up bush beans that had been cleared out and set aside, to eat. These were waiting to be buried in the beds in the spring, but there might not be any left by then!

Today was pretty warm, so I took advantage of it to do a small burn. While tending the burn barrel, looking at the nearby deer tracks in the snow, I found myself trying to figure out another set of tracks.

It looks like a pair of animals leaped their way through the snow! Fairly recently, too. They are very fresh, and were made after the deer had gone by. I have no idea what would have done this. The holes left in the snow are not that big, but the space between them is pretty huge! Looking at the holes nearest where I was, I couldn’t see any prints inside them, as the snow had collapsed inward as the creatures leapt about.

Any hunters or trackers out there who might know what made these?

After the burn was done, I also took advantage of the relative warmth and broke out the ice chipper.

Then I finally got to shovel the main paths wide enough that my husband can get through with his walker.

Then, because I’m a suck, I shoveled the path along the garden bed that cats had been using. 😀 It’s not wide enough for a walk, but if my husband ever needed to, he can at least cane it through here.

After I came inside, the girls went out and cleared paths to the compost pile, outhouse and the back door of the garage.

Eventually, we’ll clear enough of the yard that we can drive in to unload the van, but that will be a job for our little electric snow blower. 🙂

All that done, I then worked on the cheese I’ve been making, which was really interesting. That will be in my next post! 🙂

The Re-Farmer

Morning in the snow

We’re supposed to get pretty warm today, with a predicted high of 2C/36F, and a combination of rain and snow. It was already just under freezing overnight, which should have meant a pleasant morning to do my rounds. I wasn’t expecting those winds, though! It was warm enough that snow on the roof is melting, and immediately freezing again. The downspouts are full of ice, so it’s dripping all along the eaves-troughs. I broke icicles, just opening the sun room door! 😀

The kitties were very happy for food and warm water!

I only counted 17 again, but they move around so much, I can’t tell which three were missing, which means even if they came around by the time I finished my rounds, I wouldn’t be able to tell.

There are deer tracks crossing all over the inner yard, and here you can see where they milled around the crab apple trees. Sadly, there are no crab apples for them this year. At least they’re getting a bit of food from the black oil seed we put out for the birds. This is just our first snowfall of the winter, though, so they are not at all in dire straights.

They did appreciate the sunflowers I left behind for them! There isn’t a single leaf or underdeveloped seed head left.

I just love this corridor along the spruce grove, created when we cleared away the lowest branches (many of which were dead). It makes for such a nice, sheltered walkway. As you can see by the tracks, the deer seem to prefer it, too!

My older brother planted these trees, sometime in early 70’s, I think. I would have been just a wee one, and don’t remember them ever not being there, but I do remember being able to climb some of them with my late brother, when we were little. 🙂 There was one tree that had branches lined up so that I could lounge on them like in a reclining chair. My late brother, on the other hand, could climb trees like a monkey, could climb any tree he wanted and go so much higher than I could, with or without branches handy! Of course, in my memory, they were absolutely huge. They would have been a fair bit smaller than they are now, but in my memory, they seemed bigger! 😀

Once I was done my rounds, I quickly checked the trial cam files, then headed out. I wanted to hit the post office, then to into town to refill our big water jugs and get a flat of eggs. By the time I headed out, however, the winds had picked up even more, and it was raining. Though the gravel roads had been plowed, they were still in rough shape, and driving on them was like driving on a wash board! The paved roads didn’t seem much better, so decided to pick up what I could when I picked up the mail. It’s in a tiny little general store, and they don’t have a lot of selection, but manage to have a good variety of groceries, at least. They do carry the big jugs of water, so I asked about that. Normally, one would pay a $10 deposit for the jug, then $6 for the water. After that, it’s just an exchange of empty jugs for full, for just the cost of the water. I checked, and they looked the same as our own jugs, and the store owner ended up calling the company about it. They were okay with taking another empty, as long as it was clean and the same size/type of jug. So I traded one of our empties that didn’t have a label on it and just had to pay for the water, and not a deposit. It’s more expensive than if I’d gone into town to refill them myself, like I usually do. Likewise with the cartons of eggs I got (we really need to get chickens!), but that’s a small trade off to avoid making the drive on rough, icy roads in the rain and gusting winds.

The closer I can stay to home, the more content I am! 😀

The Re-Farmer

Snow critters, and brief Ginger Bug update

Yesterday was a recovery day for me, so some things waited until later, and the girls took care of others for me – like shoveling the snow boulders from the driveway clearing out from in front of the garage. 😀 I’ve asked the renters how much we owe them for the awesome driveway clearing jobs, and was told to just forget out it! They are so sweet. It also snowed lightly for most of the day, so when I headed out this morning, I did some more shoveling.

But not here! At least, not yet. This is our feeding station, and you can see that the deer have dug into the snow to get at the sunflower seeds. We haven’t started buying deer feed yet, so the next time we pick up feed, I think we’ll get a couple of bags of deer feed, instead of the black oil seed we get over the summer months. The deer feed we get locally is basically just grain and sunflower seeds, though if we went into town, we could get feed that includes more stuff in it, including corn. The deer – and birds – seem to be happier with the simpler mix. The fact that it’s also cheaper is just bonus. 😉

My husband was a sweetheart and had already given the cats food and water. He had used plain tap water, however, and with ice already in the bowls, by the time I came out, the surface was frozen over already, and the cats were licking ice, even though it was only -9C/16F I had started a kettle going before I left, however, just in case, so my husband was able to bring out a jug of water – half tap water and half boiling water – for me.

Since the water was still pretty hot, I didn’t knock the ice out of the bowls completely before topping them up. The cats were drinking it before I could finish pouring! I even added some to the bird bath. I’m not doing like I did in the past; chopping the ice out with a hatched and filling it with water. The basin is already cracked and I’m amazed it hold any water at all, anymore, though we do now keep a smaller metal basin in it, and that’s what I’m putting the warm water in.

When I came back later, there was even more of kitties, taking turns drinking!

They really do seem to appreciate the warm water.

With so much deep snow, my morning rounds are less extensive, though it now includes trekking to the corner of the property, by the new sign, to make sure it’s still there and undamaged, and switch out the memory card on the trail cam. This morning, I also worked on clearing some of the walking paths, including the one to the kibble tray under the shrine.

As anyone with glasses knows, working in these sorts of conditions means working mostly blind, as the lenses fog up and then freeze over. So I was mostly looking over my glasses, and not seeing a whole lot. Even so, I could see something… odd… near the base of the shrine. A strange dark patch in the snow.

This was not there when I topped their kibble up, last night!

Something has dug a new burrow under the shrine!

I don’t know what digging critter we’ve got around here that isn’t hibernating right now. I’ve seen a little skunk in the kibble house recently (we usually just see the one big one, these days), so maybe it was a skunk? I don’t know.

Making my way back to the kibble house, I spotted our newcomer. I’d seen only flashes of her yesterday. I’m happy she weathered the blizzard all right, wherever she was at the time.

Then, because I am a suck when it comes to the cats, after I shoveled all around the cats’ house, including opening up gaps so the cats can get under it, and a path to where they go under the laundry line platform, I dug the cat path to the storage house, which is what they are in, in the above photo.

Looking at the 5 day forecast, we are supposed to reach a high of -1C/30F tomorrow, with a bit of snow, then 2C/36F with rain and snow, the day after. Which means all the areas we are digging out should melt down to the ground, or close to it. It also means that when I drive into the city, early tomorrow morning, to the courthouse for Case Management in regards to our restraining order against our vandal, it’s going to be potentially dangerous driving. The van has good snow tires, though, so that should help, but I’m really not looking forward to the drive at all.

On the plus side, when I checked the trail cam files this morning, I saw the snow plow go by twice, so I know our gravel roads are completely cleared.

Oh, I just remembered a recent conversation I had with my brother, when we were scrambling to get things done before the snow came. Particularly the garden beds. I’d mentioned wanting to get some manure, when he brought up the manure pile that used to be behind the barn. I remember that pile. We used to have a pig pen beyond it, too. The pile is gone, and there is no evidence of the pig pen, with its shelter for the pigs in one corner, left. Not only that, but there are hollows in the area, where the ground has been dug deeper, that has had me wondering. I’d say they were made with a small front end loader, like what would fit on a small tractor or the Bobcat that was here. It’s all grown over now, so it’s been like that for a long while, but… it looks like our vandal even stole the manure pile! Probably for his own fields or garden, but… who steals manure??? Of course, we don’t actually know who took it, when or why, but there’s no one else that would have done it.

On a completely different topic, we finally got to try our first Ginger Bug Pop last night! It took a week to fully ferment, in our fairly chilly dining room. We all gave it a try, and all of us found it quite tasty. It definitely worked, though I found it really sweet. I haven’t been able to get a good photo of it, yet, but I’ll make a separate post about it when I finally do.

The Re-Farmer

Things fixed and things found

The first chance I got, I headed outside to take care of the bird feeders, starting with fixing the base of the big feeder.

I was able to find some longer wood screws that weren’t so long, they’d go through the wood I added to the base. Hopefully, the 6 screws will now be enough to hold! Then I got the loppers out and pruned the Korean Lilac. The raccoons have been using it to get to the feeder, and they’d already broken a couple of branches. Though they look close, the ones in the background are well away from the feeder. I also pruned some low hanging branches from the Chinese Elm in front of the kitchen window, as much as I could. Once I’d removed the weight of the first branches, the main branch lifted out of reach! Hopefully, the raccoons won’t try to use them, because their weight would bow the branches down to the feeder. I don’t think they actually used the elm at all, but I wanted to at least take away the option!

It wasn’t until I unloaded the van that I noticed the new hanging feeder didn’t have a cable to hang it from! The instructions didn’t even show one, though there were holes in the top for it. I ended up using the one from the broken feeder, so that worked out.

This feeder hold a bit less than the old one, but I think it will be easier to refill. Instead of trying to pour the seeds into a small hole at the top, the container comes out and can be used to scoop the seed. It even has a convenient handle. We shall see if it really is helpful. Unfortunately, so much seed has been lost to the breaking of feeders, we’re running out of seed, and the amount in the bin was too shallow to scoop the new feeder full.

As you can see, the birds were quick to use the new feeder!

I had the soaker hose going in the garden while I did this, and spent the rest of the evening moving the sprinkler around every half hour or so, for the evening watering. While checking on the sunflowers and sweet corn, I found proof of what nibbled on the sunflowers!

This hoof print was in the row of corn nearest the nibbled on sunflowers.

The deer managed to step right on a new pea sprout!!

I could see several other hoof prints through that corn bed, which really made me wonder how the garden cam’s motion sensor missed it! Well, if we get any other visitors in there tonight, I hope the new location will be better to catch the critters!

There are very few, so far, but it was nice to see some bigger green beans have developed.

I also checked on the sad purple peas. They aren’t as small or as chewed on as the green peas, but they certainly aren’t doing well. The plants aren’t being eaten, but the few pods are! Amazingly, we are still seeing pea flowers. With so little growth, the peas aren’t climbing their trellises as they normally would, but some of the purple peas are long enough that I would wrap them around the vertical twine. Much to my surprise, I found a couple of pods.

Dried pops.

The first one I found had three peas in the pod, and then I found one with a single pea in it.

These can actually be saved to plant next year!

I still have the envelope the King Tut peas came in, so that’s where they are now, and the envelope has been added to the packets of leftover seeds for next year.

We have officially saved our very first seeds for our own garden! 😀

In between moving the sprinkler until it was back to watering manually, the evening was so lovely and cool, I hang around outside.

With kittens.

I’ve got a camp chair set up near the steps, and was able to play with the babies a bit. They still won’t come up to me, but I can at least wiggle a stick on the ground and get them close!

From left to right is Chadicus, Bradicus, Caramel, and Broccoli, next to her mother.

While watering the south garden beds, I got to see Nosencrantz and Toesencrantz. They are much shier than Butterscotch’s babies. Not as shy as Junk Pile’s babies, though! They are coming to the kibble house for food, but if we step outside, they immediately run off in a panic, even as their mother stays in the kibble house and watches us. I don’t have much hope for socializing that particular litter!

Tomorrow I’ll be doing the morning rounds quickly again, though I’ll have a chance to make up for it before it gets too hot. I’m going to be heading out to a town north of us to do a pick up. We found a fairly local beef farm that does direct sales, and I’ll be meeting them to pick up our package tomorrow. Which is handy, since it meant we didn’t have to pick up much meat during our city shop. I got the invoice and an itemized list of what will be in the mixed pack we ordered – the contents of the pack depends on what’s available at the time – and I’m really looking forward to it. There are cuts of meat in there that we could never afford to buy before! I honestly can’t remember the last time I had a steak, never mind a high quality cut. The price per pound, compared even to city prices, is so much better! I don’t begrudge retail stores their prices; there’s a lot those prices have to pay for. Things that don’t have to be included when buying direct from the farmer. I’m so happy I found this place! I’d found another company that is further away, but does regular deliveries to meet-up locations in the city. If we’d placed an order with them now, we wouldn’t have been able to get it until November, at the earliest.

I’m really looking forward to bringing home the beef! 😀

The Re-Farmer